By Nicole Sullivan <Shabella2@aol.com>
Submitted: February, 2005
Summary: Lois sees that something is different about Clark. And it might be just what she needs to realize what is right in front of her. A WAFFY vignette.
I looked at Clark as we walked back to the Planet. We had just had lunch. We have lunch every day. Everyday it's pleasant and fun and comfortable. It's always comfortable with Clark.
But today was different. Something about him just seemed different. He was giving off an aura that was just so… different. I didn't like it. He wasn't himself. He was happy, carefree, polite, ever-the-boyscout, sure. In those ways he was himself. But there was something off that I couldn't put my finger on and it was upsetting me. It was really really getting to me.
"Clark, is anything wrong?" I finally asked.
He looked at me like I was nuts. And why not? I had just asked him if anything was wrong, when he was walking around with a perfect look of contentment on his face.
"Wrong? No. Why do you ask that?"
"You just seem… I don't know… different," I said, shrugging, trying not to convey how much this change was weighing on my mind.
"Different?" he asked. Then he thought about it. "I guess I am different. Well, a little different anyway. I decided something and now I feel, I don't know. Free, I guess."
I stopped walking and so he did too. He looked at me like I was crazy. "Are you alright, Lois?"
"I'm fine, Clark," I said.
But I wasn't. Why wasn't I fine? He decided something and now he felt free. He was walking around giving this freedom aura off and I could feel it and I hated it!
"I'm sorry, Lois, if I've done anything to—" he started, looking all lost and confused. And why not? I was being all Lois Lane on him. Poor guy.
"No, no, Clark. You've been acting normal, like yourself, just Clark Kent—"
"I know… Is there something wrong though?"
Of course there's something wrong! You did it, didn't you! That decision that you're talking about. You chose Mayson. You can rest at night now, not leaving this big topic of indecision hanging over your head like a dream-defying cloud because you've made your choice. You chose her. Right?
"What, uh… What did you decide, Clark?"
Don't ask me why I asked him this. I mean, I knew the answer. I guess I just wanted to torture myself, wanted to hear him say, "I chose Mayson, finally, and now I don't feel weighed down; I am free. We're going on a date tonight."
He said 'free', right?
"What does it matter?" he asked, not in a mean way, but like he was genuinely baffled by my interest. "How is this even bothering you? You don't know what's going on, and my mood and attitude is the same; you even said so. So I'm a little lost—"
"—did you decide to go for it? With Mayson, I mean?" I asked, sucking in a breath, hoping he didn't notice.
He seemed a little caught off guard. "No," he said, looking at me like I was completely insane. And I suppose he's right. He definitely seemed perplexed. That look that was on his face before, of perfect contentment, was gone. "If you must know, I… well… I gave up on you," he said, a little uncomfortably.
"You… you what?" I asked. I was not expecting this.
"I gave up on you," he said, pausing between each word to really emphasize the meaning. "Lois, you've been telling me since we met to get over it and to move on. To realize that the only chance we'd ever have exists in my dreams. I guess I realized it's true. Last night I thought about it. I didn't want to think about it, because I like to have my dreams and fantasies, I like to imagine a chance," he said, starting to walk again. I kept in stride with him, just looking up at him in utter shock. "I remembered everything you've ever said from 'don't fall for me farmboy, I don't have time for it' and repeated 'in your dreams, Kent', to the day in the park that you told me you didn't feel that way about me. I tried to tell myself that I didn't feel that way either back then, but even I knew that was a lie. That day in front of the Planet, Lois, I crossed my fingers behind my back! As I told you I just wanted to be your friend, I consciously crossed my fingers, knowing inside that it was not true! I kept wanting you, even as you wanted everyone but me. If it wasn't Lex Luthor, it was Superman. And Superman will always be there. You remind me all the time that I don't compare to him and go off on a bi-daily babble about him and how great he is. It would be easier, I realized, if I just let go. If I really just sat down and decided to move on and get over it already. To take your advice, really. So don't be upset, Lois, you should be happy. I'm finally DOING what you always told me to do," he said. "And I guess, I feel free. My feelings for you were at the point of haunting me. I needed to free myself, or I would have just gone crazy," he finished, kind of sadly.
"Happy? H-happy?" I asked, too shocked to formulate a coherent sentence. He wanted me to be happy about this? Wait… shouldn't I be happy? I didn't want a partner at work or a dependable best friend that was emotionally involved where I was concerned, right? RIGHT? "Um, how did you do it, Clark? If your feelings are that strong, how did you just turn them off?" I asked. I stopped walking again, but looked at the ground. For some reason, I just couldn't look into his eyes anymore. His eyes… they were different somehow. And I didn't like them as much anymore.
"You can't turn your heart off, Lois. You know that. I… well, I just sat down for a long time last night. Like I said, I replayed everything you've ever said to me or done around me that was meant to take away my hope that we could be more than, well, what we are. I played it in my head like a video montage, over and over, thousands of times, each time faster and faster, until I wanted to scream. And then I did something I've never done before." He sighed. "I accepted it. It wasn't so much that I gave up, I guess, but more that I accepted it will never happen. Accepted that you simply don't feel that way about me. I used to harbor this hope for us Lois. And it went really, really deep down. In the past few months, that hope has started to be the cause of a lot of hurt. I'm hurting myself by holding on. I've BEEN hurting myself. I fell for you so quickly. Right when I met you, really," he said quietly, blushing a little. "So it goes deep. And it's a part of me. It's not turned off. But you've been trying to tell me something for a long time and I simply have refused to listen and refused to accept it. Last night I listened. And I accepted it. It was emotionally draining to do that. But I did it. So now, you're looking at a Clark Kent who is not harboring some really deep hope that someday you'll return my feelings and my love. You're looking at a guy who has accepted it won't happen and is enjoying your friendship, partnership and presence in his life and is free from the burden of his own demons."
I sniffled. That's right. Sniffled. I guess I had started crying. But why?
"Your eyes, though," I said, in between sniffles. "They look… different," I said, sneaking a peek at those eyes, just to make sure it was true; that they were different. There they were again. Those beautiful brown eyes. They looked at me with love and concern. But something was missing.
I guess I never realized how beautiful it was. That hope. That hope that I always detected in his gaze.
I told myself over and over that I wished it away for both our sakes. And now…
It was gone. It was really and truly gone. And something inside of me ached, feeling empty.
"Lois?" he asked, still sounding so concerned. Such the good… friend. "Lois, are you okay?"
"Sure," I said, a smile and a shrug to prove my point.
He didn't buy it.
He placed his forefinger and thumb on my chin and gently lifted my face so that I would look at him.
"Please, Lois, don't cry. I hate seeing you cry. Tell me what's wrong. I don't understand why you're crying," he said gently.
"Please don't," I started, as the tears flowed harder.
"Don't what?" he asked.
The tears just flowed freely though. Free, like him. I was accepting something, like he did last night, and now my tears were free. Like him.
"Don't give up on me. Please. Please," I begged, crying more, feeling things in my heart that I had so long pushed aside for later.
Never thinking about the day when it would be too late.
"Don't give up on me," I whispered again. "Please," I cried, looking up to meet his gaze again, my chin shaking, my lip quivering, my eyes pleading.
I noticed his concerned gaze change into a look of recognition as he looked beyond me. When he looked back at me, something was there that had been there before, ever since I'd know him… something that hadn't been there today. Something I loved.
So I smiled, happier tears falling from my eyes, letting out a sigh of relief.
And we kissed.
And that's how it all started.